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Buying Votes

Republicans are claiming that the reason why they were defeated in the election was because Obama and the Democrats gave out “extraordinary financial gifts” like free healthcare and green cards to Blacks, Hispanics, young people, and other members of their base and then mounted an aggressive turn-out-the-vote effort to get them to the polls. You can hear loser-in-chief Romney and other Republicans say exactly that in this segment from the Daily Show:

(the second half of this segment is definitely worth watching as well)

Well, we’ve already seen how the Republicans tried to mount an even bigger get-out-the-vote effort for the election than the Democrats (deploying 34,000 operatives in key precincts and boasting on PBS “The Obama campaign likes to brag about their ground operation, but it’s nothing compared to this.”), but failed miserably.

As for the “extraordinary financial gifts” Obama was supposedly giving out, Ezra Klein points out that this was another classic example of Republican projection, because it is the GOP who are handing out gifts like candy. For example, one of Romney’s biggest and most advertised campaign promises was that the Republicans would restore the $716 billion that Obama had cut from Medicare. Ignoring the fact that these supposed cuts were false, and that Paul Ryan had proposed the same cost savings, even though Republicans say we have to dramatically reduce the budget they are simultaneously and hypocritically promising seniors that they will increase their Medicare spending. Sounds like a financial gift to me! Romney also promised to increase our already bloated military spending, a financial gift to the military-industrial complex.

But the biggest financial gifts that the Republicans keep giving are huge tax cuts to the rich, and financial deregulation. These financially dwarf what Obama is supposedly giving to his base. You couldn’t ask for a more obvious gift to the rich than cutting their taxes and eliminating laws and regulations that keep their companies from destroying the environment or cheating consumers. And these aren’t just promises, they are things the GOP has been actually doing, since before Reagan was elected.

The only difference to the GOP is that Romney’s gifts benefit Republican voters (and especially donors), and Obama’s gifts benefit Democratic voters:

That’s Romney’s political cosmology: The Democrats bribe the moochers with health care and green cards. The Republicans try to free the makers through tax cuts and deregulation. Politics isn’t a conflict between two reasonable perspectives on how to best encourage growth and high-living standards. It’s a kind of reverse-Marxist clash between those who produce and those who take, and the easiest way to tell one from the other is to see who they vote for.

When Romney thinks he’s behind closed doors and he’s just telling other people like him how politics really works, the picture he paints is so ugly as to be bordering on dystopic. It’s not just about class, but about worth, and legitimacy. His voters are worth something to the economy — they’re producers — and they respond to legitimate appeals about how to best manage the country. The Democrats’ voters are drags on the economy — moochers — and they respond to crass pay-offs.

This is the politics of division at its worst. To their credit, at least some Republicans have condemned Romney for his comments. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said “We need to stop being a dumb party, and that means more than stop making dumb comments.” Mississippi governor Haley Barbour said it more colorfully as “We’ve got to give our political organization a very serious proctology exam. We need to look everywhere.”

© Jeff Danziger

Romney’s attempts to pass the blame may backfire. As Electoral Vote puts it:

At this point, Republicans want Romney to exit stage right and never be seen or heard from again. It is rare for a party to reject its own candidate so strongly and so quickly after a loss. John McCain and John Kerry certainly were not told to shut up and leave after their respective losses.



  1. Mike wrote:

    The question is how long does it take for the “real” Republicans to brand Jindal, et al., as a RINO, and to reinstate the one true, mean spirited, mysogynistic and (likely) racist belief by a Rushian Papal bull?

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink
  2. David Freeman wrote:

    “The only difference to the GOP is that Romney’s gifts benefit Republican voters, and Obama’s gifts benefit Democratic voters:”

    No, the difference is GOP gifts benefit Republican large donors at the expense of everyone else including about 95% of their own base. The mythical “makers” get a financial payoff from the GOP and the rest of the GOP base gets … hmmm … I don’t know, perhaps validation for their hatred and fears?

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 4:31 am | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    Again, I’m one of Romney’s 47% BECAUSE OF BUSH’S TAX CUTS. Romney told in the debates how he was going to raise taxes on the middle class, but “not touch dividends” A family of four making 50K would pay over $4000 more a year as outlines by Romney in the debate. I, on the other hand, single, same income, pay nearly nothing. Don’t have to leave the house, don’t have to get child care for my children, no wear and tear on my car, am retired living off dividends. I’m one of the 47% not paying what I should: an extra 4K a year. I think the phrase “intelligent Republican” is an Oxymoron.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink
  4. wildwood wrote:

    I’m still waiting for my gift. Does anyone have an estimate of when it will arrive?

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink
  5. jonah wrote:—the-irish-menace

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink
  6. Scott Segraves wrote:

    Wny nip it in the bud? Looks like we were able to get our message out well enough to overcome their lies. So why not let them continue to wallow in their own ugly world view? Seems the world doesn’t like having stuff like that said about it, and will pay them back the same way when they do it again, the same way.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Wildwood, you mean you didn’t already receive your free health care, immigration card, and subsidized college education?

    Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink